It’s time to discover dynamic dance benefits to energize your life!
Did you know dance is natural therapy for gathering strength, increasing self-confidence, opening up your capacity for healthy self-expression and bringing greater enjoyment into all areas of your life? It’s true! It’s a brilliant choice for connecting with your inner alchemist.
Powerful mind-body dance benefits are too great to limit to official dance classes. Join in our exploration of the letter “D” in our A to Z alchemy series as I share alchemy for adventurers in life and note that dance is designed to enjoy anywhere, anytime.
I’m not afraid to break out dancing in my office during sessions. A little jig of happiness often bursts forth in spontaneous honoring of a client’s WIN. (Have I mentioned how much I love your wins?) Sometimes we’ll even blast the music and groove for a few minutes. Everyone else in the building, including my husband, quietly and professionally providing chiropractic care, wonder what the heck is going on…. and, more importantly, WHY ARE THEY MISSING THE PARTY?!
Here’s a gift to help you taste the energy of this marvelous natural therapy: check out BRAVE by Sara Bareilles. 3 minutes 58 seconds of your life. It’s worth it. Much to my delight, this looks exactly like life in my office!
This is for every one of us who has ever kept our mouths shut when we needed to speak up and honor our hearts.
Now that you’ve experienced the energy, here are some honest-to-goodness clinical dance benefits for your brain, body and mind:
1. Dance Benefits for Your Body:
No need to focus on weight training or traditional aerobics. Let’s take a look at the amazing dance benefits you can easily add to your life:
You will start a healthy spiral as you add dance into your days. Even if you start out fatigued, your metabolism will recharge and begin gifting you with increased energy. You are likely to discover an increase in well-being as natural endorphins are released into your body. And you can literally rest assured that your nightly sleep will become deeper and more restorative by adding some dance to your days.
In addition, you will absolutely tone your body while increasing your physical strength and endurance. Belly dance is at the top of my list – a dance of muscular isolations, one of the best whole body workouts you’ll find. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of belly dance to strengthen and reshape arms has never danced with a veil! I guarantee you will strengthen muscles you may not even know you have, especially in your core muscle groups. This dance encourages strong abdominal muscles, with a focus on fluid movement. No endless crunches or sucking in your abs here! You’ll develop strength while moving your body in marvelous ways.
Dance benefits your coordination, agility and balance. Even your heart will strengthen through this naturally joyful cardio-vascular workout!
Also, like all exercise, dance boosts your immune system, giving you a better chance of staying healthy during cold and flu seasons. Did I mention your new-found strength and flexibility will help protect you from injury?
Want more? You’ve got it!
2. Dance Benefits for Your Brain:
Did you know research now shows us that aerobic exercise makes us smarter? Its true!
Arthur F. Kramer, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studied the effects of six months of exercise training programs on volunteers in good health. He and his team discovered that people who engaged in aerobic exercise were able to perform cognitive tasks fifteen to twenty percent faster than people who only did toning exercises. Here’s the best part – people got these results with only moderate exercise! You can read more about this landmark study and learn more information in Martha Weinman Lear’s helpful book Where Did I Leave My Glasses?
In the meantime, know this: whenever you ask your body to learn a new skill, you establish new neural connections, essentially growing your brain. Despite what you may have heard, dance and other pleasantly challenging mind-body activities can help you stay mentally sharp better than sedentary activities like crossword puzzles. All you have to do is dance for about an hour, a few times a week, for a few months. Then you, too, can reap the benefits of multi-tasking more easily, completing activities more quickly and thinking with greater clarity. I don’t know about you, but this is cause for bright hope for any of us who have ever complained about our “mommy brain!”
3. Dance Benefits for Emotional Wellness:
Dance can significantly reduce tension and anxiety. While it may not be a cure-all, it definitely has a potent anti-depressant effect, encouraging the release of endorphins. And believe me, we all want more endorphins! They are natural painkillers produced in our brains that bring about a sense of well-being. Keith Johnsgard shares in Conquering Depression & Anxiety Through Exercise: “All the studies on exercise treatment for depressed individuals have found it to be highly effective.“
And check out this surprising conclusion in Johnsgard’s book as it relates to The Belly Dance Prescription: Shake Your Hips & Depression. He shares that aerobic and anaerobic exercise are equally effective. You can clearly see that all aspects of dance, from slow undulations to percussive hip drops and shimmies can play a role in helping to alleviate depression!
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to dance!
Got a favorite song or dance form your inner alchemist thrives on? I’d LOVE to hear and dance with you!